Dan Feldman

Celtics play rock, paper, scissors to determine who takes technical free throw (video)

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Should Jae Crowder (making 86% of his free throws this season, 78% for his career) or Avery Bradley (76%, 78%) have shot a technical free throw for the Celtics last night?

They played rock, paper, scissors to determine.

Crowder’s paper covered Bradley’s rock, but Crowder missed the free throw.

At least Boston held on for a 105-95 win over the Heat.

Dewayne Dedmon dunks all over Dante Cunningham to finish alley-oop from Tony Parker (video)

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Dewayne Dedmon keeps dunking on fools.

Watch full Tim Duncan number-retirement ceremony (video)

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Have time for only the highlights? We have those, too.

But if you have an opportunity, watch the entire Tim Duncan number-retirement ceremony. There were a lot of great insights and humor – including from Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, former Wake Forest coach Dave Odom, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan himself – on the quiet superstar.

Al Horford says free-agent decision came down to Celtics and Rockets

Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42) shoots as Houston Rockets' Corey Brewer (33) defends during the half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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The Rockets’ top target in free agency last summer was reportedly Al Horford.

They seemingly came close to landing the star big man, who ultimately signed with the Celtics.

Horford on Houston, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Boston:

“I really considered coming here,” Horford told reporters on Monday. “But them and Boston and Washington. (Houston) and Boston were probably the two teams I was really, really looking at. Just a lot to consider.”

The Rockets settled for Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, two offensively skilled players who’ve aided Houston’s rise on that end. But Horford is the type of two-way player who could’ve helped offensively while boosting the Rockets’ defense.

It’s an intriguing “what if?” but I’m drawn to the Wizards’ role in this saga. Washington reportedly came close to signing Anderson, let him linger to chase Horford and then wound up with neither. And the Wizards weren’t even a finalist for Horford? Their struggles might not be so deep with Anderson propping up a troubling power forward position/bench. This seems like another miscalculation on their part.

‘Kevin Love rule’ could help Timberwolves extend Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins under new CBA

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23:  LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half as Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
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As the story goes, David Kahn was saving his five-year, designated-player rookie-scale extension (not to be confused with the new veteran designated-player rule) for Ricky Rubio. So, the Timberwolves general manager gave Kevin Love a shorter extension and embittered Love in the process. That led to Love requesting a trade and being sent to the Cavaliers.

Under the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams will no longer face that dilemma (not that Love-Rubio should’ve presented a dilemma).

Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post:

Teams can now give two players coming off their rookie contracts a five-year max extension. Previously, teams could only sign one of their players to such an extension.

This was always an overblown concern. It’s rare teams will have multiple players worthy of max contract extensions in such a short span. The flaw in the Love parable is that Rubio’s extension wound up far short of the max.

And even when teams stack first-rounders worthy of the max, there was a clear remedy. Designated-player applies only to extensions. Though teams could offer only one five-year rookie-scale extension, they could extend one player and then re-sign the other in restricted free agency to the exact same contract he would’ve gotten in an extension. It makes no difference in player compensation. In fact, that route can even help teams when a player’s cap hold is lower than his salary.*

*That’ll happen less often under the new CBA. As Bontemps reports, cap holds for players coming off rookie-scale deals were will increase from 200% (if above NBA-average salary) or 250% (if below NBA-average salary) of previous salary to 250% (if above NBA-average salary) or 300% (if below NBA-average salary) of previous salary.

The Wizards followed this route, making John Wall their designated player then re-signing Bradley Beal to a five-year max contract.

This new rule will help teams prevent players from reaching restricted free agency, where hijinks – accepting the qualifying offer, signing a short offer offer sheet – can happen. (On the other hand, a maximum qualifying offer – logical for a player a team was ready max-extend – already eliminates the one-year-qualifying-offer threat and makes those unpleasant offer sheets less likely.)

Coincidentally, Minnesota – with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins – could benefit from this change. Other candidates to benefit include the 76ers (Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons) and Pacers (Paul George* and Myles Turner).

*already a designated player